Welcome to Our School
We care for children between the ages of 6 weeks old - 5 years old
(6 weeks – 18 Months)
For the littlest learners in our program, we offer endless opportunities for discovery. Our activities range from one on one with an adult or in small group where the infants begin to recognize the faces of others and form an attachment to one or more adults. We try to develop a community in which the infants begin to rely on each other for interest, support, and as peer models. We have a protected space where the infants can roll over, sit up, crawl, cruise, take a few step, and eventually walk. We also provide opportunities for the infant to reach, grasp and release objects.
As teachers, we know that self-talk and using rich language to describe objects, events, and people in the environment will i ncrease the child’s understanding of language. We want the children to turn their head toward the adult talking, respond to their own name, wave bye-bye when asked, and to play Peek-A-Boo. We encourage our infants to coo and squeal by echoing their utterances and to express sounds that imitate language such as ma-ma, m-m-m-m, ba-ba-ba.
We want the infants to become problem solvers, increase their memory, and become independent thinkers. To do this, we increase their attention by providing bubble activities, colorful toys, singing along with children’s’ music playing in the background, and playing with sensory materials. We want our infants to recognize familiar people, places and objects, and look for hidden objects. We build on familiar experiences to increase their connections and scaffold their learning. If an infant knows and likes the taste of applesauce, we might have the infant try something new such as pear pureeat lunchtime.
Young infants naturally put things in their mouth as a way to explore the object. As they grow, we introduce a wider range of activities a nd toys that they can explore with all of their senses. While feeding or playing with the infants, the responsive caregiver will sing or chant to the child. Often the songs include number words such as Five Little Ducks or Five Little Monkeys. We also include counting throughout the day such as during mealtime, the teacher might count the cheerios or while changing a diaper, the caregiver will place “two socks” on their feet. We also use words such as big, little, one more, all done and empty.
We know that our youngest children will become readers. To promote literacy development, we offer soft books and board books, read to the children daily, display print in their environment at eye level, and play with vocal sounds. We incorporate music and dance into our daily routine by singing to the children, clapping, moving to the music and providing musical instruments. We encourage their rocking, a sparkle in their eyes, smiles and laughter when they hear their favorite songs.
(18– 36 Months)
Toddlers are naturally curious about their environment and we encourage their new found independence by offering plenty of exploration and discovery based activities. Similar to the Infants, we provide materials that will focus their attention and encourage their ingenuity when they use a material in a new way. While a child is trying to solve a problem, we offer verbal support and positive feedback to encourage the toddler to stay motivated and engaged.
Our toddlers are not only learning valuable self-help skills such as self- feeding, potty training, and emotion regulation, but also how to interact with others through parallel play, sharing, and large group activities (PH, SE). The toddlers at Oliver Day School develop an understanding of the community as they begin to distinguish between familiar caregivers and unfamiliar strangers and are able to easily recognize other members of their class and other adults or children in the larger learning community.
Language development begins to blossom as toddlers learn to follow one-step directions, use 8 to 10 words frequently, and imitate the body language of others by pointing and head shaking. We know that children will begin to incorporate new vocabulary words into their speech when words are explained in a concrete way. We use gestures, authentic objects, and correct labels to help expand their sentences and make new words meaningful. Literacy continues to be an important aspect of our program as toddlers listen to books daily, handle books on their own, and begin to show a preference for particular stories. They learn to sing nursery rhymes, hear text with rhyming words, engage in chants with alliteration (Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater), and play with sounds.
Toddlers love to explore push and pull toys, play with objects that sink and float, observe live animals such as turtles and fish, and find pebbles, ants, sticks and other natural materials while outdoors. They feel the rain, snow and sun on their skin and learn to dress according to the weather. We provide many opportunities for the children to explore their senses with materials such as snow, pudding, whipped cream, colored ice cubes and water. We use the appropriate vocabulary such as hot/cold, sink/float, and soft/hard.
Lunch and snack often lend themselves to great mathematics learning opportunities as toddlers are encouraged to use math language such as "more" and "all gone!”. We incorporate numbers through finger plays and rhymes, count sets, practice one to one correspondence, notice simple patterns on their shirts or around the room, play with shapes while using the correct names and observe things that are the same or different.
Each toddler begins to explore their own creative talents as art, music, movement, and art appreciation are incorporated into each day. We provide materials such as music, shakers, play dough, paper, glue, string, cookie cutters, paint, washable markers and other supplies to spark their creativity.
Preschoolers are always excited to show you how much they know! In the Three’s and Four’s programs, we incorporate themes and literature as we explore many interesting topics. Our centers and learning activities are often related to a story such as The Three Bearsor to a topic such as Friendship. All of the children have interests of their own and that is considered and incorporated into the weekly planning.
A large part of their day is spent in centers; each of the center activities are intentionally planned to introduce a new concept or to scaffold the young child’s learning. At Dramatic Play center, we often find children develop an understanding of social roles and responsibilities as well as recognizing and learning to respect similarities and differences between people as they play “Family” or “School”. Math center offers opportunities for number recognition, counting, puzzles, problem solving, sorting, and measurement.
At our science center, preschoolers can use the sensory table to explore the characteristics of objects or materials that are man-made or naturally occurring such as lincoln logs, pine needles, pine cones, and Little Tykes People. Writing table offers chances for literacy development as children learn writing skills using writing materials such as pencils, crayons, and markers, utilizing the alphabet, and demonstrating print knowledge through the library adjacent. Writing Center also doubles as our Art Center where children can utilize those same writing utensils to create their own works of art!
The Manipulatives Center allows our little friends to choose their own manipulatives from our wide selection of different “bins”. The manipulatives range from large and small blocks, colored animals, magnet-tiles, unifix cubes, etc. All of these choices give children the chance to apply strategies for logic and reasoning as they build structures on our large rug. Our classroom is rich in language development as children are introduced to more complex language through books, music, and conversations with each other and teachers.
We also include outdoor play as an extension of the classroom. While on the playground the children develop their climbing, running, and balancing skills. (PH) In addition, they learn to strengthen their peer relationships, make decisions and practice turn taking with guidance from their teachers, if needed. Preschoolers are encouraged to develop a stronger sense of self by using their words for problem solving and exercising impulse control. These skills will be crucial in Kindergarten and beyond.